Being the writer of a Thoroughbred blog means that I get to do totally fun things and call it work. Like, say, watch a ten minute video of a trainer riding an OTTB, for research purposes.
I know I called dibs on Four X The Trouble, but somehow I happened upon the blog page for Solidify, another OTTB in the Retired Racehorse Training Challenge, and I am seriously in love. You guys. I don’t know how anyone could not want this horse. Only a sociopathic lunatic would not want this horse. Or someone who doesn’t like horses. (That’s pretty much the same thing.)
(Video after jump!)
Solidify, who last raced in December, does things I’m pretty sure half the horses in the United States of America do not do. Like stretch into contact. And walk politely on a loose rein. And step into a left-lead canter from the walk. Good heavens.
If you feel like drooling over a sweet little Thoroughbred tonight, this ten-minute video of Solidify is just what the doctor ordered. And, just for fun, study the way that Tiffany Catledge, his trainer, is handling him. She is sensitive, with a quiet seat, tipped slightly ahead of the vertical, and very firm through the knees and thigh, less so in the lower leg, although her heel is down for security. But best of all, check out her lovely, open, giving hands.
(or watch at Retired Racehorse Training.org)
I love wide-open hands on a youngster or an OTTB. One of the things that riders often don’t realize when they graduate from a lesson horse to their first greenie is that they’ve been taught to ride with high, close-together hands (really this is more of a dressage thing than anything else). A horse that still has to learn to move into contact will resent a set hand position. Loosening up the elbows, and dropping the hands and letting them move out to the sides, provides a loopy, comfortable rein where it is welcoming for the horse to move his neck forward and down.
But back to Solidify, isn’t he just lovely? I’m simply amazed at how quiet and happy he is.